posted on April 19, 2011 01:00
Greg Raymer: The Legislation of Morality Is The Definition of Evil
2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg "Fossilman" Raymer joined us on The ITD Morning After yesterday to discuss Black Friday, as it's now known in the poker world.
Raymer, who has been quite outspoken about the classification and regulation of poker as a game of skill, expressed disappointment over the developments of the last few days. The St. Louis native and Parkway South graduate says the reason for The Department of Justice's crackdown on PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker is simple: money.
But, what about those who sponsored and co-sponsored the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006, including Missouri Representative Todd Akin? Why did a group of Congressmen and Congresswomen feel the need to tack the UIGEA to the SAFE Port Act in the final minutes of Congress...all while leaving loopholes for state lotteries, horseracing, and fantasy football and baseball?
Raymer didn't pull any punches in answering the question. Here's an excerpt of the transcript:
Raymer: Well, part of the problem is we've got groups in this country who want to legislate morality. They personally think that poker is immoral, that any form of gaming is immoral, and so it's their agenda to save us from ourselves.
So those people, you know, they're not very right-minded people. As far as I'm concerned, trying to legislate my morality on someone else's...that's the definition of evil. It's trying to make someone else do what I want them to do. It doesn't matter if my rationale is actually good, that I think I'm helping them.
If you want to personally promote an activity, if you want to try to convince people, talk them into it. But when you want to have basically the goon squad come in and enforce your will on people, that's my definition of evil. And so, these people think they're doing good and they're actually not.
As far as what's happened now, I don't think, especially under Obama, that he's been telling the Department of Justice that, "I want you to actively go after all of this online gaming stuff."
When Bush was president, we certainly thought that's a lot of what was going on - is that, just as a policy matter, he was telling them to do this. But the US attorneys have a lot of discretion. Even though they report up to the Executive Branch they do not sit there and get all their day-to-day orders from Obama and his office. So they get to do a lot of what they want, and they're following the money.
McKernan: So you're saying they're going after this because there's an opportunity here to make $3 billion in fines from these companies?
Raymer: Exactly. They will be able to seize lots of money if they succeed, if they get access to these bank accounts. Most of the money is outside the US, and even if some of these international banks have complied up to now in the extent that they've frozen the assets, whether in the long term they will continue to freeze that money and will they ever hand it over to the Department of Justice is a difficult question to predict.
But that, in my opinion, is the goal of all of this. Because I don't see the victim. You know, If I'm Bugsy Malone and the FBI and soforth is coming after me, it's because I was killing people and blackmailing people and all this kind of stuff. I was hurting innocent people. Here, it's like, who is the victim? Even if we assume everything in these indictments is 100% true and will be proven, there's no doubt it's really what happened and it does technically break these bank laws, who is the victim? The banks? They say, 'Oh, well you defrauded the banks.' But it's like wait, the banks got all their money. The banks were defrauded into processing a transaction and getting paid the fee for doing so.
McKernan: But it didn't cost them money.
Raymer: It made them money. So they're like, 'We wish you hadn't lied to us, but you didn't steal anything from us. You didn't steal anything from our customers.'
The people that were involved in the transaction were the customer - the player - and the poker site, and they wanted the money to move back and forth, whether it was a deposit or a cashout. So if I'm the attorneys at the Department of Justice, if I'm the agents at the FBI, then the question is kind of like 'Why am I putting probably tens of thousands of man hours into an investigation when I'm not saving anybody?' No one's being hurt. Why not go after someone else who's out there still getting away with it who's actually victimizing people?
To listen to all of our interview with Greg Raymer, click HERE.
What did you think of what he had to say? Do you agree? Disagree? Why? Log-in and post your comments below, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.